FansBet NFL expert John Arnette returns for week 14 of the NFL with his enhanced acca preview and betting tips for what promises to be another round of hard hitting action. This week John has gone for the Colts, Browns and Cowboys in his acca with his special bet recommendation coming from the New York Giants @ Washington Redskins clash. Check out our betting preview and tips for the weekend and take advantage of our enhanced odds available.
Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts 4.5 to beat the Houston Texans at 1.91
Winners of nine straight games, the Texans are the hottest team in the NFL at the moment, and on Sunday they can all but clinch the AFC South title with a win over division rival Indianapolis. But it won’t be easy— the Colts had won five straight before a frustrating 6-0 loss to Jacksonville last week, and earlier this season they took Houston to the brink, losing 37-34 in overtime.
Andrew Luck threw for a season-best 464 yards and 4 touchdowns in that game, and he’s had great success against the Texans throughout his career, so in a situation like this— a clear must-win game for the Colts as they look to bounce-back from a manhandling in Jacksonville— I expect him to be razor sharp.
Yes, the Houston pass rush is fierce, but the Colts o-line has done a tremendous job protecting Luck this season, surrendering just 14 sacks through 12 games, the second-lowest number in the NFL. And as we’ve already seen, if Luck stays upright, he can do some serious damage against a middling Houston secondary that was torched by Browns rookie Baker Mayfield last week to the tune of 397 passing yards. On the other side of the ball, the Indy defense has improved as much as any unit in the league over the course of the season, and they now rank in the top-half of the NFL in nearly every major statistical category.
The Colts are surrendering just 16.5 points per game over their last six contests, and they’ve been especially stingy against the run, limiting 3 of their past 4 opponents to 91 rushing yards or fewer. The Texans have scored 23 points or fewer 8 times this season, so their offense has been slowed at times, and this has traditionally been a tough matchup for them, as Indianapolis is 4-1 at NRG stadium stretching back to 2013. All things considered, 5 points feels like too many in this situation.
Carolina Panthers @ Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns To Beat The Carolina Panthers at 2.10
Things have quickly unraveled in Carolina, as the Panthers have lost four straight to fall to 6-6 on the season and now find themselves in a difficult position in the NFC Wild Card race. The offense has grown stale and may have played its worst game of the season last week, managing just 17 points against an awful Tampa defense, but it’s the defense in Carolina that has been the biggest cause for concern, as a once-proud unit has collapsed in recent weeks, surrendering a staggering 31.5 ppg during the team’s ongoing losing streak.
Head coach Ron Rivera pushed the panic button this week, firing two defensive assistants and assuming play-calling duties himself. The moves come amid speculation that new owner David Tepper is looking to shake things up after the season, possibly from the top down. This week the Panthers go on the road to face a Browns team that has played fairly well of late, winning back-to-back games before losing in Houston last week. Offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens, who was promoted to the position after former head coach Hue Jackson was fired a month ago, has been pushing the right buttons with young QB Baker Mayfield, as the rookie has averaged 292 pass yards per game since Kitchens assumed play-calling duties, and has completed at least 67% of his passes in each game.
Mayfield has been helped immensely by the emergence of fellow rookie Nick Chubb, who has staked his claim as one of the NFL’s best young running backs, and now the Cleveland offense feels legitimately dangerous for the first time in a long time. This just seems like a case of two teams moving in opposite directions, and frankly I’m not sure the Panthers should be favored over anybody right now after what we’ve seen out of them lately. The reputations of the teams involved are affecting the line, but as bettors it’s important to live in the “now”, and I think Cleveland is the better team at the moment.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys To Beat The Philadelphia Eagles1.51
After a disappointing first half of the season, the Cowboys are rolling, winning four straight games to assume control of the NFC East. Their victory over New Orleans last week was especially impressive, as they held a Saints offense that had been nearly unstoppable to just 10 points and 176 total yards.
The Dallas defense now ranks 5th in the NFL in yards allowed and 2nd in points allowed, surrendering just 18.6 ppg, and they really don’t have an obvious weakness, as they rank in the top-7 against both the run and the pass. The Philly offense, meanwhile, has been mediocre all season and has actually regressed slightly over the past few weeks, producing just 20.1 ppg over the team’s last six contests. The Eagles have only topped 30 points once all season, which is shocking for an offense that was among the NFL’s best in 2017, and the defense simply isn’t good enough to pick up the slack, as the unit ranks 26th against the pass and has been just as bad against the run, giving up 5.0 yards per rush.
So your immediate thought is, “what will happen when a defense that allows 5 yards per rush goes up against Ezekiel Elliott and one of the league’s best o-lines?” Well, that question has already been answered once this season— back in Week 10 Dallas went up to Philadelphia and came away with a 27-20 victory, and in that game Elliott rushed for 151 yards on just 19 carries, so clearly whatever plans the Eagles had to contain him didn’t work.
I see no reason to expect anything different this time around, and the Dallas defense has steadily improved over the past few weeks— based on what we’ve seen out of them lately, I’m not sure there’s a better defense in the entire NFL right now. This is a must-win spot for an Eagles team that has proven its championship mettle, but I don’t think they’re going to be able to overcome a red-hot Cowboys team that looks like a genuine threat in the NFC.
NFL Week 14 Best Bet – New York Giants @ Washington Redskins
Recommendation: New York -3.5 at 1.92
Don’t look now, but the Giants are actually starting to play some football— they’ve won 3 of their past 4 games, and last Sunday’s 30-27 victory over the NFC North-leading Bears was a “sit up and take notice” type of performance, as Chicago was riding a 5-game win streak and had allowed just 15.4 ppg in that span.
There’s no denying that the New York offense has developed into a dangerous unit over the past few weeks, as Saquon Barkley has lived up to his status as a top-5 pick and Odell Beckham has been unstoppable, piling up the best numbers of his career. And the defense, though still not the strength of the team, has been better than people realize, especially in the secondary, where they’ve held opposing QBs to a 89.8 passer rating, ranking 3rd in the NFC in that category.
This week that defense will have a chance to shine, as the Redskins have lost their top two quarterbacks to season-ending injuries and are now down to Mark Sanchez, who was signed off the street less than 3 weeks ago. Sanchez was thrust into action on Monday night against Philadelphia and it went pretty much as you’d expect, as he threw for just 100 yards on 21 attempts and was intercepted once in a 28-13 loss. He wasn’t helped much by his offensive line and often looked rattled under pressure— no surprise from a guy who hasn’t thrown a TD pass since 2015, I suppose— and after watching the film I’m sure the New York pass-rushers are eager to pin their ears back and get after it. And though Adrian Peterson produced a turn-back-the-clock moment with a 90-yard touchdown run last week, he’s no longer capable of carrying an offense himself, especially when opposing defenses will be crowding the box and daring Sanchez to beat them, which will surely be the plan for the Giants and every other team that Washington faces over the final month of the season.
So for the Redskins to win this one, they’re going to have to rely on their defense, which has had its moments this season but has begun to fade over the past few weeks, giving up 120 combined points in the team’s last 4 losses. And if we’re being honest, the secondary has been bad all season— only two teams in the NFC have allowed more passing yards, so Eli Manning will have ample opportunity to make things happen down the field in this game. I know the Giants are generally unreliable and they lost to these Redskins at home six weeks ago, but both teams are different now— New York is playing better, while Washington is materially different on account of the quarterback situation. Expect the Giants to win this one rather comfortably.
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